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Karma has certainly dulled the Hindu’s conscience by entrusting the ship of morality to a sort of gyro-pilot.

…….moral sensibility  ……. must be endowed with value as an independent  experience in itself.   Hinduism, which has with such insistence fostered the idea of spiritual  life being  a self-contained and self-sufficient activity to be prized for its own sake, has never extended the same idea to the moral sphere.      

But the most serious handicap from which Hindu ethics suffers is to be found in the universal and ineradicable assumption that the gods are venal.   The Hindu pantheon is as corrupt as the Indian administration.   The indulgences bought from Rome which so  scandalized Luther were as nothing compared with the indulgences which through  the  instrumentality of  our priestly class we could buy from our gods.    ……… the bribe expected varied   in amount according to the gradation of the offence or nature of the favour sought, the more general rule was that you could pay according to your means without regard to what you expected the gods to do.

The idea of corruptibility of the gods is so widespread and firmly rooted in Hinduism that no Hindu could have understood, far less propounded,  ………. that the worst heresy and morally the most pernicious is that which believes in the venality of the gods and in the possibility of bribing divine justice.   Yet Hinduism is perhaps of all religions  the one which furnishes the best illustration of  truth and justice.

The development  of moral consciousness among the Hindus has an initial disadvantage to fight against.   It lay in the fact that the greater majority of its popular gods were economic or utilitarian gods demanding nothing higher than a commercial honesty ………  and when ……. the gods stooped to venality, the atmosphere in the temple naturally approached that obtained in an Indian police station or black market and morality received its worse blow from  what is popularly believed to be its patron and protector.

……….. the  Hindu has again become dead to moral issues as he traditionally was.   The influence of Christian-European morality has been waning during the last thirty or forty years as decisively as English political power.   Now it has disappeared, or at any event is rapidly disappearing.

Bangalore:   2 Dec. 2004                                                                                                Excerpts from

            “The Autobiography of An Unknown Indian” By Nirad C. Chaudhuri

64)   Shahul  Hamid  of Ramnad

I had a few Muslim friends during my high school and college days.   Shahul Hamid was one of them.   They were somewhat more than mere acquaintances but not too intimate.   The fact is I had no deep and lasting friendship in all my life.   I had always been a loner.   That was because, I guess,  I did not participate in any out door games or group activities after school and college hours, though the opportunities were plenty.   Like a homing pigeon at sunset, I rushed home immediately after the school or college closed for the day.  

Shahul Hamid was my high school friend in Ramnad.   We were together in the 4th and 5th Forms  in Schwartz High School.   He was much taller than my puny frame, with a smiling countenance.    He wore the traditional  cotton lungi the Muslims wore, brightly coloured and chequered and full sleeved shirt in plain poplin.   He was the only boy in our class to wear long sleeved shirt because he carried beedies inside the folded end of his shirt.   He always wore a fez cap, bright maroon in colour, with a tuft of black shiny silk thread hanging behind.   This cap was an indication of the affluence of  the boy who came from a rich home.   The other  Muslim boys wore less attractive caps, dark with oil stains inside.   Shahul’s cap had the advantage of hiding a few matches  and a strip of the match-igniting surface, torn from a match box, behind the leather fold inside the cap.

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